George T. Javor


The advanced state of understanding of the biochemistry of the bacterial cell, as evidenced by the knowledge of the complete nucleotide sequences of Haemophilus influenzae and Escherichia coli, allows the re·examination of the plausibility of the spontaneous generation of life. It is seen that in order to function these one·celled organisms require approximately 1700 and 4300 genes and gene products respectively. In the living state, none of the chemical reactions, though catalyzed very efficiently by specific enzymes, is allowed to reach its end point. The phenomenon of life depends on the steady state, nonequilibrium condition of all chemical reactions. This is the consequence of two features. One, the design of the substrates and their catalysts causes the dove-tailing of chemical changes into interconnected biochemical assembly lines. During growth, the influx of carbon, nitrogen etc. and energy sources is balanced by the utilization of the end-products of biosynthetic pathways and the efflux of waste. Secondly, somewhere in the past, these biochemical chain-reactions were ignited successfully, and they continue uninterrupted since the dawn of life, over many generations. This is recognized by the biologist's dictum: "life comes from life". Forty five years of futile laboratory efforts to demonstrate the plausibility of spontaneous abiogenesis have underscored the incredibility of the postulates of chemical evolution. Furthermore, the inability of modem biochemists to generate living matter even non spontaneously, drives home the concept that life was created by an Intelligence far exceeding ours.


Biochemistry, chemical evolution, criticism of spontaneous abiogenesis


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